As live-streaming continues to surge into the wider public awareness, both Facebook and Periscope are working to evolve their products. And often, these updates replicate what's come from the other as each platform tries to keep pace.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced a set of new features for Live, including the ability to hide reactions and comments, longer broadcast time capacity (4 hours as opposed to 90 minutes) and a new full-screen mode.
Of course, you could already do all of these things in Periscope - you can hide comments and hearts in Periscope by swiping right, much the same way as Facebook has introduced, Periscope streams can be recorded for as long as you want, effectively, and Periscope's had a full-screen mode since last September.
The duplicate updates make sense, of course - both options are trying to provide an optimal live-stream experience, and in doing so, there's inevitably going to be some crossover, some tools and functions created by the other that enhance the experience, so it's logical to add them in.
In line with this, today Periscope has announced three new updates, which, again, take a little inspiration from their competition.
First up, Periscope's announced a new Replay Highlights option which will show users the best moments from any previously recorded Periscope broadcast.
It's an interesting addition and may help get more viewers to check out streams by giving them a feel for the content. The highlights process itself is automated, with the system selecting the key moments of focus from each video.
So how does Periscope choose which moments of the video to highlight?
According the announcement post:
"We look at a variety of signals to determine what parts of a replay should be included in a highlight and will continue to improve these signals over time."
Which is a vague way of saying they'll use viewer counts, comments and hearts as measures of which points within each broadcast are the best.
In this sense, it's similar to Facebook's recently introduced response graph tool which shows peaks in reaction levels throughout the stream.
The response chart is an accumulation of Reactions and comments made during the broadcast - based on the data, the viewer can then skip to the parts of the broadcast which sparked the most interest.
Periscope's worked to add to this by adding the highlights option to various parts of the app - you can view highlights for a specific channel, for example, and it'll show you the top moments from videos posted under that subject, you can use the map and view highlights from a specific region, or you can go to a users' feed and view highlights from their most recent Periscope uploads.
The option gives users another way to help filter the noise of live-streaming content and experience the best of what live has to offer.
Periscope's also adding in a new option to embed Periscope streams on other websites - a function which was flagged recently by Twitter's head of business operations at Periscope, Alex Khoshnevissan.
LIVE on #Periscope: New Periscope Features - Highlights, Web Embeds, Autoplay! https://t.co/S2xp9h6agX- Periscope (@periscopeco) July 21, 2016
As noted by Khoshnevissan:
"Anywhere that you can embed a tweet, you'll soon be able to embed a Periscope. For me, this is huge because it means we're totally breaking down the barrier between a live broadcast... You don't have to have Periscope. You don't have to know what Periscope is."
It's worth noting that there's no native Periscope embed option, as such, you need to embed the related tweet, as I've done above.
The update addresses one of the biggest criticisms of Periscope, being that users are effectively forced to download another app to watch live-stream content. Now, Periscope users will be better able to create and promote their content on other channels across the web, giving themselves - and Periscope - additional exposure, and keeping Periscope in the wider live-streaming game.
And again, the functionality of Periscope embeds is very similar to what you can do with Facebook Live posts - previously, Periscope embedding was impossible (or pointless) due to Periscope streams only lasting 24 hours, but the ability to save Periscope content indefinitely, which was introduced back in May, has now enabled the app to offer this functionality.
Autoplay Broadcasts on Android
And the last element of Periscope's update relates to Android specifically (at this stage), with live broadcasts now set to autoplay in the Watch Tab and Global Feed.
The videos will play without sound, enabling users to quickly get a taste of the content and see what's happening. To watch the full video, you tap through, as normal.
As noted, Periscope and Facebook Live are going head-to-head in live-streaming and are both working to introduce new and innovative features to keep audiences engaged (and away from the other option). Indeed, in a recent interview at the Cannes Lions Festival, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour noted that as competition heats up in the space, evolution of the medium will come very fast.
"There's going to be a lot of noise because live is now an interesting medium to a lot of people - both to the audience, who clearly see the appeal of watching and interacting live, but also to companies who are in this space or want to be in the space, so you'll see a lot of companies get involved, and you're already seeing a lot of noise and competition in the space. And with more people focusing on the live medium, that'll mean the space will evolve really quickly, and I think that's a good thing."
This is good news for consumers, as we're seeing significant advances in live-streaming and what these tools can bring - powerful and helpful new functions and additions that are making it a more enjoyable experience, both to view and create.
And as those changes come into effect, they also evolve the medium to the next stage, which may just see live-streaming become a genuine rival for regular TV. We're already seeing TV shows and sports broadcasters sign up to air content live on Twitter and Facebook, it's not a huge stretch to imagine that someday soon you'll be tuning in to watch the breakfast program on Facebook Live or the evening news on Twitter.
It may not seem that significant now, but the evolution of live-streaming is an important one to watch. It may just change how you look at your marketing and outreach efforts.
Replay highlights will be available on iOS and Android "in the next few days", while autoplay will be available on Android first with iOS coming soon.